Why are the common recipes so profitable?

"Hi Marko

(Feel free to publish on your blog, podcast, whatever)

I'm an admirer of your blog and podcast. I've picked up some gold-making gems from you over the past couple of years; thanks very much.
I'd appreciate your thoughts on a recent trend I've observed.

I cut my gold-making teeth back in vanilla WoW making Flarecore Robes. I bought the recipe, bought mats from the auction house and sold the item, which was rare at the time and extremely profitable. I've been repeating this general mode of crafting ever since: buy rare recipe, buy mats as needed, sell.

It's always been profitable to concentrate on hard-to-get and rare recipes. Recipes learned from trainers or used for levelling haven't ever been profitable (except for a few globally required items such as bags, and the profit margin on these is small). This is the conventional wisdom which has been guiding my thinking since day one.

However, I've noticed a definite change recently. The biggest selling items on my tailor are level 80 spellthreads. I sell a dozen of each kind every day, making 50-100g each on the purple spellthreads and about 20g on the blue ones. I also sell items from the Frostsavage set, selling about one full set each day at about 300g total profit. I have also noticed similar trends in the other professions (such as the Inscription off-hands you mentioned in the last podcast).

I've been trying to figure out a reason for this. After all, anybody can make these items, they are trainable from the standard trainer and can be used to level. Surely they can't be this profitable?

I've come up with a couple of ideas, I wondered what you thought and how these might be applied to other professions:
- The window of opportunity for rare recipes is now very small; once a few other crafters have the same recipe you're fighting over the same small number of customers. I think this is due to most people having the same "conventional wisdom" as I did that rare recipes are the profitable ones.
- At this stage of the expansion there are much fewer people levelling professions, therefore it is much less likely that people are dumping these items on the AH at cost.



The answer to your question is complicated and a direct result of the supply/demand balance on your server. Have too many crafters for the rarer recipes and supply will overcome demand. Of course the exact opposite conditions would bring about a reversed outcome as well. The demand for the common goods is often so great that no amount of crafters will ever really saturate the market, in fact you'll find that there are times where the market rapidly fluctuates between over and under saturated. It's the job of a good auctioneer to find out when these extremes occur and strike by placing auctions or purchasing cheap items.

5 comments: on "Why are the common recipes so profitable?"

  1. I am going to throw up the lazy crafter argument. Most people might have made these while levelling and not made much money from them.

    The items are now tainted with the thought that you can only make say 20 gold from them, and the person can't imagine selling the 50 of them needed to make the same 1k gold they might get from an ICC pattern.

    The beauty is most now think that, and can't be bothered checking to see the profit is now 50g and think everyone is 80 now anyway with PvP epics raining from the skies so who would buy it?

    Answer: people levelling alts, with gold on their mains, wanting a cheap, instant boost to their green quest items, plenty enough to create demand that is high enough compared to the amount of crafters.

  2. People tend to abandon markets after they've failed in them. Since lots of people leveling at the same time undercut each other up to the point of taking a loss in order to level their profession, one who tries to enter a market at that point sees that it's a 'fail' and they abandon it.
    Just sit out this 'fail' and keep track of a market, it might just be the goose with the golden eggs.

  3. I cannot sell Inscription offhands for the life of me :(
    No idea why they just don't want to sell, I made the two epic offhands and they have been on the AH for 2-3 weeks now.
    I never see many on the AH either which is strange.

  4. This is another Great Untouched Market!

    Rich Purple Silk Shirts"

  5. This is also the end of the expansion cycle and there is more demand for cheap common goods as alts are played more often.

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